Three other labourers survived the attack and have been rushed to a hospital in Goalpara in critical condition.
Police have informed that preliminary investigation has revealed it to be the handiwork of dacoits, who taking advantage of the prevailing law and order situation, carried out the attack with an intention to loot.
“The workers were attacked with daos, daggers, knives, clubs and lathis. The dacoits also looted around eighty thousand rupees from one of the quarries,” said District SP Davis Netell R Marak while speaking to The Shillong Times on Monday.
The attacks were carried out on three coal quarries in Garegittim-Dobakkol region, 5 km from Nangalbibra and 51 km from Baghmara, the district headquarter. The attackers were reportedly of a mixed group who took advantage of the tense situation prevailing in the region.
The South Garo Hills district administration promulgated the order under Section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting assembly of more than four people in a bid to prevent breakdown of law and order in the district, Deputy Commissioner CP Gothmare.
In the first attack the armed dacoits murdered seven labourers and took away around eighty thousand rupees. They murdered another labourer in the second quarry nearby before attacking a third in which three other workers were bludgeoned and left to die. Fortunately, all three survived the attack.
The mine owner was alerted by the survivors, who, later in the morning brought their injured colleagues to the Nangalbibra police station from where they were shifted to a hospital in Goalpara, Assam.
Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma on Monday condemned the killing of the labourers and warned against lending a communal overture to any crime against women and children saying that perpetrators of such crimes do not belong to one single ethnic race or community.
“A criminal is a criminal regardless of race, sex, caste, creed or colour,” Dr Sangma told reporters here on Monday.
“We want to send a strong message to the people of the state that any crime against women and children should not be given a communal colour as this will hamper peace, security and tranquility in the State,” Dr Sangma added.
“The government is trying to contain this violence and will not allow the same to escalate,” Dr Sangma said, adding that the government is doing its best to ensure that normalcy returns to the trouble-torn region.
Referring to the mass exodus of migrant labourers, the Chief Minister said, “Labourers belonging to different ethnic groups and communities are bound to come and work in the State considering the fact that there are many cement factories, coal mining areas and the like.”
Meanwhile, the situation in West Garo Hills is slowly returning back to normal. However, night curfew will still remain in place throughout the district and round the clock patrolling is taking place in the sensitive areas of the plains belt region, particularly in Rajabala, Bhaitbari, Phulbari, Tikrikilla and Hallidayganj.